Microsoft Files Patent Application for Virtual Reality Floor Mat

Immersed in a virtual world, the user can be at risk for bumping into real-world objects, such as walls and coffee tables. Microsoft has filed a patent application for a technology to address this issue. With its “virtual reality floor mat activity region,” the user has a designated safe space to explore, with so-called fiducial markers that help the VR headset recognize the mat as well as the possibility of pressure sensors in the mat. Some VR players have used their own rubber mats as a physical cue to be safe. Continue reading Microsoft Files Patent Application for Virtual Reality Floor Mat

Apple Brings Back Touch ID, Readies New iPhones Launch

To better compete with the latest flagship Android phones offered by companies such as Samsung, Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi, Apple is developing in-screen fingerprint tech for its future iPhones, according to those familiar with the plans. It is unclear whether the tech will be featured in 2020 or 2021 models, but insiders indicate that testing is already underway at Apple and its overseas suppliers. Meanwhile, Apple will announce this year’s new high-end iPhones on September 10, and is reportedly working on its first low-cost iPhone since the company’s 2016 SE model. Continue reading Apple Brings Back Touch ID, Readies New iPhones Launch

Facebook Creating Companion Messaging App to Instagram

Facebook is looking to take on Snapchat with a new messaging app the social giant is developing as a companion to Instagram. The Threads app reportedly intends to encourage constant sharing between “close friends” by automatically sharing data such as location, speed and battery life in addition to the usual messages comprised of video, images and text. Instagram previously had a standalone messaging app called Direct, but users were frustrated when they had to move between the two apps to send messages. A new messaging app built around a user’s close friends list could provide a viable alternative.  Continue reading Facebook Creating Companion Messaging App to Instagram

Alphabet Unveils Master Plan for Toronto Smart City Project

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs project began in 2017 when Toronto invited the company to turn an undeveloped 12-acre lot, Quayside, into a model of the digital city of the future. Now, Alphabet has issued a 1,524-page master plan that, in four volumes, details how it will spend the $1.3 billion earmarked for the project. Among those plans, Alphabet details using environmentally-friendly timber, installing an underground pneumatic tube for garbage removal, and building streets for autonomous vehicles from subsidiary Waymo. Continue reading Alphabet Unveils Master Plan for Toronto Smart City Project

Nvidia EGX Brings AI Computing to the Edge, Enabling IoT

Nvidia’s new EGX Platform will bring AI computing to the edge, meaning it will take place at the sensors, before being sent to cloud-based data centers. The platform is intended to handle the immense growth in sensors embedded in Internet of Things devices and wearables, which has resulted in a massive amount of raw data. According to Nvidia senior director of enterprise and edge computing Justin Boitano, “we will soon hit a crossover point where there is more computing power at the edge than in data centers.” Continue reading Nvidia EGX Brings AI Computing to the Edge, Enabling IoT

Microsoft, Sony Announce Partnership for Gaming Services

Facing new threats from video game rivals, Microsoft and Sony announced something that some might find surprising: they’re teaming up to work on cloud and game-streaming technologies together. Through the partnership, Sony will consider using Microsoft’s Azure cloud service for streaming its game content, acknowledging the need for a strong cloud solution for game makers. There’s also room within the agreement for a potential collaboration involving Microsoft’s artificial intelligence and Sony’s image sensor clips.
Continue reading Microsoft, Sony Announce Partnership for Gaming Services

Microsoft Shares Vision For Present and Future Productivity

Microsoft recently invited journalists into its Envisioning Center for a peek into its vision of the future — in particular, its vision of the future of productivity. Inside the center, Microsoft houses some of its prototype work. Journalists witnessed teams working together on giant collaborative screens, meeting in rooms equipped with devices to automatically recognize participants, and doing work at touch-powered desks. The bulk of all provided demonstrations revolved around the use of touch, voice, and augmented reality. This marks a new way forward for Microsoft.

Continue reading Microsoft Shares Vision For Present and Future Productivity

Valve Plans to Introduce its Valve Index VR Headset in May

In May, Valve Corporation will unveil a virtual reality headset, dubbed the Valve Index. In 2016, the company teamed up with HTC to launch the SteamVR headset. Valve, which has a dedicated website for the new VR headset, will only reveal that it features two sensors flanking the front and supports a 135-degree field of view (FOV), which is greater than HTC Vive and Oculus Rift’s 110-degree FOV. Valve doesn’t mention SteamVR Knuckles controllers, which it has promoted via developer outreach since 2016. Continue reading Valve Plans to Introduce its Valve Index VR Headset in May

Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

Oculus unveiled a new version of its Rift VR headset at GDC 2019 yesterday. The $399 Rift S, available this spring, will feature a new design, higher resolution display (up to 1280×1440 per eye), two updated Oculus Touch controllers, and embedded sensors for tracking (rather than cameras). The current $349 Rift relies on an array of external webcams to sense the environment. The new Rift S will require a PC in order to power its high-res graphics, while the wireless Oculus Quest, also available this spring for $399 will not need additional power. Continue reading Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

Upcoming Apple Devices to Feature 3D Camera for AR Apps

According to sources, Apple will debut an iPhone with a rear-facing, longer-range 3D camera as early as next year, with the goal of enabling augmented reality applications. The planned 3D camera would work up to 15 feet from the device, in contrast with Apple iPhone’s current 3D camera which points toward users and is limited to distances of 25 to 50 centimeters for use with Face ID facial recognition. The new camera uses a laser scanner, better for long distances, said sources, rather than dot-projection technology. Continue reading Upcoming Apple Devices to Feature 3D Camera for AR Apps

Cinemark, Spaces Partner for Location-Based VR Experience

On February 8, Cinemark Holdings, in partnership with Spaces, will open VR entertainment centers at its Century 20 Oakridge and XD facility in San Jose, California, located at the Westfield Oakridge Shopping Center. Burbank-based Spaces, which spun out of DreamWorks, opened its first VR experience, based on “Terminator: Salvation,” in Irvine. Spaces offers more sensors and haptic feedback than a home VR experience, with physical features including ramps and motion platforms for a more realistic experience. Continue reading Cinemark, Spaces Partner for Location-Based VR Experience

Israeli Firm Debuts One-Camera Vehicle Surveillance System

At CES 2019, Tel Aviv-based Guardian Optical Technologies debuted Optical Cabin Control (OCC) for the car’s interior. The single camera, a bit bigger than one featured in a mobile phone, is installed in the car’s ceiling and uses machine learning to keep an eye on the driver — and the kids in the backseat. More specifically, the camera watches to see if the driver takes his hands off the wheel, his eyes off the road or closes his eyes. To train the system, the company hired a diverse group of people, wearing different clothes and holding various accessories and pets. Continue reading Israeli Firm Debuts One-Camera Vehicle Surveillance System

CES Panel: 5G and Internet of Things From Robots to Tractors

Internet of Things is no longer just about smartwatches and fitness bands. At CES 2019, 5G enables ubiquitous connectivity — from tractors to robots. TechRadar mobile editor David Lumb presided over a panel of speakers from companies as diverse as John Deere, LG Electronics and Bosch. “We have a huge need for our machines to be connected,” said John Deere director of digital solutions Lane Arthur. “All our machines are enabled with 4G and we’re already moving a lot of data. 5G will enable us to do more.” Continue reading CES Panel: 5G and Internet of Things From Robots to Tractors

CES Panel: Public Policy, Regulations for 5G and Self-Driving

The Internet of Things and 5G are just two areas impacting self-driving and connectivity, said CTA senior director of government affairs Jamie Boone, who noted the sector’s public policy challenges. Verizon VP public policy Melissa Glidden Tye said that her company launched 5G in October 2018 and has “big plans for autonomous vehicles (AVs) and smart cities” this year. “5G has been dubbed the fourth Industrial Revolution,” she said. “Everything that can be connected will be.” Waymo just passed 10 million miles, another significant milestone. Continue reading CES Panel: Public Policy, Regulations for 5G and Self-Driving

We Were Passengers in a Las Vegas ‘Self-Driving’ Rideshare

Autonomous vehicles have been a part of tech culture for so long that it’s hard to realize that only a handful of people have actually ridden in one. So it was with great surprise that our very first Lyft ride out of our Las Vegas hotel on Sunday night was in a “self-driving” vehicle. Lyft partnered with Irish auto-parts-company-turned-autonomous-vehicle-startup Aptiv (formerly known as Delphi) to offer CES attendees and Vegas commuters the option to ride in one of their 30 “self-driving” BMW 5 Series. Continue reading We Were Passengers in a Las Vegas ‘Self-Driving’ Rideshare

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